I am so excited to share the cover for my new book with you, I really hope that you love it because Georgie is very excited!
When Georgie Grows Up is the story of a very imaginative child who isn’t really sure that the promise of eating their vegetables is really worth growing up big and strong for! A 32 page long picture book in full colour which will take you to the moon and to the depths of the ocean.
Georgie is an intentionally non-binary character so that as many of the children reading the story can identify with Georgie’s wild imagination as possible!
What do you want to do when you grow up? Are your dreams as outrageous as Georgie? Read my brand new story when it is released on 20th June 2022.
You can preorder your copy now from my Folksy shop or get it on release day from my Amazon book shelf! All preorders will come with an extra special gift too!
The book is almost ready to go to print and has been dedicated to three of my beautiful nieces and nephew, Bonnie, Betsy and Noah. Being surrounded by children keeps me young and my imagination overflowing, I am very lucky to be their aunty.
Thank you for joining in with my excitement as it draws closer to launch day, there will be plenty to look out for across my social media accounts!
I decided to join in the Our Planet Week illustration challenge this year because in my small way I would like to raise awareness of environmental issues especially where it concerns the animals who inspire my artwork. Our Planet Week was founded by artist Asia Orlando and you can find out a lot more about it on the website.
There were six prompts to follow with the added incentive that if you completed the prompts then One Tree Planted, a charity which plants trees around the world, promised to plant a tree for every post tagged with the hashtag #onetreeplanted during the challenge dates.
These are my six illustrations for the challenge …
Earth Day –
Did you know that ants are amazing? As they grow their ant homes below ground, twisting mazes in the soil, they are aerating the soil and allowing nutrients to be recycled which helps new plants grow, thereby reducing the need for chemicals!!!
Tiny but mighty Earth protectors.
2. Green Living –
When we went to Dartmoor Otter and Butterfly Sanctuary last month we had an amazing day seeing how they help these adorable creatures. Their website is a wealth of information on all species of otter if you would like to know more! Sanctuaries like this exist around the world to help animals who are effected every day by climate emergencies and human errors. Visiting can help them raise valuable funds and raise awareness of how we can live greener to protect them.
3. Oceans –
Did you know that seals are helping scientists to study climate change? By wearing tracking devices, which help to monitor water temperature, salt levels and animal behavioural patterns. Monitoring changes in the Antarctic Ocean can help us understand the effects of climate change and devise plans to slow and stop it where possible! Sadly they are also one of the animals suffering most from climate change and who need our help the most.
The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is an incredible place helping these beautiful creatures and is well worth a visit if you get the chance. The seals are absolutely enchanting!
4. Breathe –
Did you know that alligators are really important for the ecosystems that the inhabit? They dig holes and leave trails throughout marshes, they create habitats for fish and marine life. They also keep invading plant life from destroying ecosystems. Without these ecosystem services, freshwater ponds and shrubs and trees would fill in coastal wetlands in the alligator’s habitat, and dozens of species would disappear. They help the environment to breathe deep!
Alligators are a species who need protection.
5. Climate Heroes –
These little creatures sure are heroes!
Did you know that beaver populations help to control water flow which is vital during times of extreme weather fluctuations such as drought and floods! Beavers natural instincts to create dams means that they are building ponds which attract plant life, birds and even fish! The dams themselves create homes for other mammals such as otters and mink too!!
It’s the last prompt for Our Planet Week and I chose a squirrel because amazingly they plant many many trees simply by forgetting where they buried their stashes of nuts (seeds). Luckily they don’t keep all of them in one place so they hopefully have plenty to eat but those forgotten seeds often sprout into beautiful trees!
I hope you enjoyed my illustrations as much as I enjoyed creating them, it was a lot of fun to do more research into how these amazing creatures help our planet to survive and how they are vital for helping different species coexist in this crazy world.
What is your favourite animal? I bet it does a lot more for the environment than you could ever imagine, perhaps even more than humans will ever know.
Six Year Old Sidney The Skateboarding Boy is written and illustrated by Dan Bryant, the story of a six year old who loves nothing more than skateboarding and who practices really hard so that he can compete in a skateboarding competition. He is determined to compete even when his old skateboard is feeling more tired than it ought to for a competition.
The book is bright and colourful with the bold blue of the cover working as a background for the text. The illustrations are fantastic, they remind me of an old show on Nickelodeon called Doug and just like those, the illustrations are full of life and energy. I just adore how Sidney sticks his little tongue out while he is concentrating, possibly because both Harrison and I do that too.
The story is really empowering and teaches that if you keep showing up and putting in the effort then people will take notice, you may not get exactly what you were hoping for but you might get exactly what you need and that might just be even better than you hoped. Harry was really intrigued by the idea of a six year old being so great at a sport like skateboarding, it is very impressive.
I had thought at first that you needed to know some skate terminology and other than a few bits I picked up from Mr Webb playing skate games on the playstation many moons ago, I have no idea what some of them meant. So I was very glad to find the glossary in the back of the book that explained some of the terms to us. Despite being 10 and owning two skateboards, I am sad to say that Harrison is not a skater and much prefers to keep his feet firmly on the ground. The glossary of terms was very useful and Harry has been inspired to give his skateboard another go soon.
The story is great and the illustrations are charming, perhaps we will get an update when Sidney skates in his next competition.
Six Year Old Sydney The Skateboarding Boy is available now from Shookbop.
This book was sent for review by the publisher Stour Valley Publishing and the opinions are all our own.
I have always loved children’s books, I have kept a collection throughout my life and it keeps growing. I wanted to be a children’s author my entire life and I didn’t truly think that it would be possible. So I can’t get my head around it, I am celebrating, it seems unbelievable to me but I now have 10 books available on Amazon. All children’s books but they are done in a variety of art mediums. I love creating books but love to learn about new techniques and to combine them where possible. If you have read much of my blog you will see that I really enjoy experimenting with all kinds of art supplies. Five of the ten have been created from fibre art (felting and embroidery), two have watercolour illustrations and three have digital illustrations. They each have their own benefits and I have two books which I am currently working on, one with watercolours and the other with digital illustrations.
10 books seems like a milestone and an achievement despite the fact that I am pretty useless at marketing so my sales are slow. I am really proud of every single one of my books and I really feel that they are getting better and better with each book.
I have heard rumours that the Amazon algorithm gods are pleased once you reach 10 books and will start placing your titles higher in the searches but I am yet to see any evidence of this, maybe I will do in the coming months. I am aware that getting reviews on your books helps the most but it is very difficult to get the reviews because when Amazon sends books out to people I never find out who purchased it or where in the world it even went.
Amazon books are great quality in my experience. I have had one really peculiar book arrive that had different pages inside but Amazon were really good at replacing it straight away. I do feel a little out of control with the books because I can’t quality control each and every one of them before they are posted out but having the print on demand available on Amazon has meant that I can produce quality books without a massive upfront cost which I wouldn’t be able to afford so my stories would be relegated to my sketchbooks forever. I am really grateful to Amazon for allowing me to follow my dreams.
If you are thinking of publishing your own book on Amazon, through Kindle Direct Publishing it can seem daunting at first but you have unlimited amounts of edits before you press that ‘publish’ button and you can even order sample copies of your books before they get published so that you can check everything is as you want it. I would suggest that you purchase your own ISBN numbers though, you can get free ones from Amazon however if you use these then you are not permitted to sell your books through other avenues. I personally choose to sell through Folksy so that I can offer signed copies, I have books in a couple of independent book shops and I sell at festivals and events which would not be possible with the Amazon ISBN allocated numbers. That feeling of holding your final product in your hands after months of hard work is one of the best feelings in the world. Seeing a child enjoy your story tops that even more!
I feel like I am just at the beginning of my creative journey, I have not even got off the starting spot when it comes to marketing and I have so many more stories to tell. Have you read any of my books? which is your favourite? I would love to hear from you.
Harry says he would give all my books 5 out of 5 webs but he is completely biased!
Sass Feels Lonely is the first book that I have written with very simple sentence structures which appeal to younger readers and reluctant readers or those who struggle with more complex books but still want a bright picture book to read. The pages only have one sentence each and children can learn the book easily through repetition which in my experience (as a mummy having to read the same stories over and over again) gives children a sense of accomplishment which can guide them towards a love of reading in the future.
My original story for Sass was much longer and more in depth but as I was writing it I became aware that Sass could tell his story through the images as much as the text which would give children more freedom to develop Sass’s story in their own imaginations.
I am incredibly proud of Sass so when the publisher sadly had to withdraw from publication and close down, I knew that I wanted to independently publish Sass Feels Lonely under my own publishing brand Moby and Puddle Books. I have spent the last few weeks taking the necessary steps to do so and I am happy to announce that Sass Feels Lonely is now available on Amazon.
I also have limited amounts available on Folksy which are the first edition copies that I have purchased from the now defunct publishers. You can even find keyrings there too!
To celebrate the release of the second edition of Sass Feels Lonely I have decided to run a giveaway across my facebook and instagram accounts. It will run until Midnight on Monday 4th April and winner announced on my blog Tuesday 5th April. There will be two winners, the first will win a signed copy of the book and a soft toy that looks a little like Sass (a cousin perhaps?) and the second will win a signed copy of the book with a Sass keyring and sticker. Due to ongoing postal issues the giveaway will be exclusively UK based.
I hope that however you get your hands on your copy of Sass, that you enjoy it and that you fall in love with this big fluffy creature who lives in the forest just as much as I have. One setback won’t stop him, after all Sass is on the lookout for more friends!
Written by Leon Howlett, Professor Von Schmell and his Fart Powered Bike is as random as they come. It is a little bit of mayhem wrapped up in a glorious story about inventors and a race. If you don’t like your children to read books about farting, burping or other bodily functions then at least it is right there on the cover for you to see and keep away from. It isn’t hiding anything or pretending it is some great moral story, it is however blatant fun in the form of a picture book.
Harry is 10 years old and he finds farts and burps hilarious, why wouldn’t he? life is far too serious as it is, especially at the moment, so seeing him giggle and chuckle as we read this book was brilliant. He is also a massive fan if inventors and crazy inventions (he adores Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs) so this book definitely fell into the hands of its target market and we thank Stour Valley Publishing for sending it to us for review.
If I had to pick at anything, (As seems to be the thing that I complain about most in childrens books) it would be the lack of punctuation. It really makes it a lot more difficult to read out loud, maybe this is just me? But the right punctuation or even the wrong punctuation but in the right place really does help the rhythm of a book keep going, especially when it is a rhyming book. This book is not great with punctuation and has very little on some pages. When it has a second edition which I think it will, this would be a massive improvement.
The illustrations by James Gibson are fantastic, our favourite being the parrot in his dressing gown which really is worth buying this book for. James has a way of creating humour within the story and also in the background with so many different details that keep you lingering on each page more than you otherwise would. I am a big fan of James Gibson’s work and think that the book is worth getting to enjoy the artwork as much as the story.
Harrison awarded 5 webs out of 5, ignoring the lack of punctuation due to the amount that the book made him laugh and laugh. We are sure to read this one again and look forward to reading more from both Leon Howlett and James Gibson.
Harrison and I really loved the style of this book, the illustrations are vivid and full of texture. There are lots of hidden details to look out for in the backgrounds of each page too which meant that we spent longer chatting about the extra details as well as the story itself. The Boogie Woogie Monster is a story that teaches the value of not making rushed judgements based on appearance. The story flows really well and there were no slow points and the story made sense from start to finish, it was clear, concise, fun and heart warming.
The Boogie Woogie monster is lonely but he keeps trying to make a connection with Moe, the main character in the story, and keeps protecting him even after he has been shunned by the boy. The monster is very self aware and knows that the boy is scared. I think that makes him a lot more loveable despite the claws and teeth.
Harrison really enjoyed the inclusion of some of his favourite characters, Santa and the tooth fairy which are hilariously laced into the story with some great consequences. I particularly liked one spread that shows a group of monsters because most children have the occasional monster lurking under the bed, even some adults too.
This book is fun and is colourful, it is a great story and will be one that we will read more than once. It might be helpful for children who are struggling with sleeping in the dark although it might have the opposite effect since the art work is so fantastic. I would recommend this story to anyone who loves a little uniqueness with a great story to go with it.
The second book in the Stick It Brit series by Jenny Neal won’t disappoint fans of the original. It is a fully illustrated children’s book that will delight even if you are not familiar with the first book in the series.
This alphabet book focuses on food with Brit and baby Amy putting on a picnic for their toys. Once again Brit is covering everything with sticky notes and causing a little chaos at the same time. Young children will not realise that this book is helping them read, it isn’t at all preachy or stagnant, it is a real story all the way through.
Once again Jenny Neal has created a bright and colourful book with really wonderful backgrounds that have so much energy. The illustrations are simple and playful, they really capture the relationship between the sisters.
Harry thought that baby Amy pouring the drink over her own head was hilarious and Brit’s reaction was perfect for a big sister. I have a soft spot for the teddy Captain Spy and hope he makes more appearances in further Stick It Brit titles.
The Q part of the alphabet is Quavers which I thought was a little risky, any brands in a book can age them but then again I think Quavers will likely be around for many years to come (I hope so at least, they are delicious!). I will warn you though, if you plan to read this book, do not do it at bed time like we did, we had no choice but to get top and have snacks and a glass of milk! This book will make you hungry! It is good that the majority of the foods are healthy snacks and mostly vegetarian but some vegans may not like the inclusion of eggs if reading to vegan children (we love veggie ham and sausages so we didn’t mind that!) Honestly though you would have to be pretty strict to let that stop you from enjoying the story.
We both really enjoyed the second instalment of Stick It Brit and hope that it won’t be the last.
Stick It Brit and the ABC Picnic Surprise by Jenny Neal is available now from Shookbop.
This book was kindly sent to us for review by the publisher Stour Valley Publishing and it completely our own views.
When Marion Veal reached out to me and asked if Harrison and I would review her latest book I could not of said yes faster. I had seen the cover of the book in the Shookbop online shop and admired the stunning artwork on the cover. Harry is a big fan of foxes and had previously enjoyed Small Tom’s Big Adventure by Marian Pierce so I thought that he would jump at the chance to review Vix as much as me. He was just as delighted as me when it arrived. This review is of course all our own opinion, we hope you enjoy it.
Vix The Lockdown Fox is the true story of trust, kindness and friendship. Inspired by heartwarming events that occurred during Lockdown when Marion, the author of this story was gardening and appreciating all of the flora and fauna that surrounded her.
A truly beautiful picture book, illustrated by Kathryn Coyle in stunning watercolours, at times it feels more like an art book than a picture book because every single picture is stunning and you want to spend time really looking at each and every page. With really vibrant colours the images are colourful but with a softness, Kathryn is an expert at painting fluffy characters. The cover is just a sneak peek at the beauty inside.
The story follows the relationship between fox and human as they learn to trust each other, it is a really charming story made even better by the fact that it really happened. It is an inspirational tale because throughout the story Marion feeds and helps Vix without ever trying to domesticate her or turn her into a pet. It was evident throughout that Vix was a wild animal and Marion treated her as such, with respect. As a parent I think it is important that children see that they can help animals without owning them and that wild animals might look fluffy but they aren’t cuddly cartoon characters that should be petted and cuddled.
Harrison absolutely loved this book although he kept worrying that something awful was about to happen to Vix or one of the other characters and he was relieved at the end that nothing bad happens to any of the characters (I was relieved too). His favourite part was when Vix was a cheeky fox sitting in an empty paddling pool. Vix has a cheeky little grin.
Being vegetarian we didn’t really enjoy the descriptions of ‘chompy-chicken’ however that started a conversation about animals and food chains and the fact that foxes can’t pop to the local supermarket for a meat substitute. Any chance for an open discussion with children is good in my opinion and Harrison is always happy to have a good discussion about topics he believes in (Chickens are one of his favourite animals!).
Lockdown was hard on a lot of people in a lot of different ways, this book shows how loneliness was a major factor for people living alone at that time and how being surrounded with nature really helped to alleviate that, especially making bonds with the animals that visit the garden. We sadly don’t have a garden but through lockdown we were delighted to see a family of ducks pass by each day and that little bit of nature made us all smile. It is lovely to hear happy stories of lockdown, something positive coming out of all of the negativity.
This book is really delightful, the story is inspirational and the artwork is fantastic. It has everything you would like for a bedtime story, heartwarming and wholesome. I recommend it to anyone with children who like animals. I do not think that you would be dissatisfied with this book at all and it is one that we will read again and later pass on to younger family members.
We award Vix The Lockdown Fox 5 out of 5 webs. We both truly enjoyed it.